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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Anti-Nazi Bill Targets Ukraine, Baltic States

Proposed legislation would make the rehabilitation of Nazism a crime that could result in Moscow cutting diplomatic ties with other former Soviet republics.

Legal experts said the bill, if passed, would violate the Criminal Code and the Constitution.

"There are attempts to portray Nazi accomplices as heroes and the Soviets who fought against Nazis as invaders," said Mikhail Demurin, a co-author of the bill and an adviser to the Federation Council's International Affairs Committee.

"We have to resist this," he said by telephone Thursday.

Demurin said attempts to rehabilitate Nazism can be seen "on the state level" in the Baltic states, Georgia and Ukraine.

President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly accused the Baltic states of wrongfully collaborating with Nazi Germany and have criticized them for honoring troops who fought against the Soviet army in World War II.

The legislation may be submitted to the Duma and considered in a first reading in June, said its main author, Konstantin Zatulin, deputy head of the Duma's Committee for CIS Affairs and Relations With Russians Abroad.

The bill envisions fines, prison sentences and a ban from Russia for citizens of other former Soviet republics who justify Nazism, according to a copy of the legislation posted on Zatulin's web site, Citizens of other former Soviet republics who make pro-Nazi statements would be banned from entering Russia. Moscow would sever diplomatic ties with a country that officially makes pro-Nazi statements. A citizen of a former Soviet republic who arrives in Russia despite being banned would face three to five years in prison.

Russian nationals would face prison sentences for similar offenses.

Sergei Nasonov, a legal expert with the Moscow-based Independent Council for Legal Expertise, said the legislation violates the Criminal Code because the code only allows penalties for crimes committed in Russia. The bill also violates the Constitution, which guarantees people the right to express their opinions, Nasonov said.